You've probably heard the saying "the kitchen is the heart of the home," and that's absolutely true.
It’s where families have meals together, a place to bond, laugh, and share. But when a kitchen becomes out-dated, working and living in it can become a chore. If this is the case, a kitchen remodel may be in order.
Planning a kitchen remodel is an exciting prospect, but there are a lot of details to consider. Below you’ll find the ultimate kitchen planning guide to make sure your remodel is picture-perfect.
Take a Long Look at Your Kitchen
The first step to starting a kitchen remodel is stepping back and taking a long look at the kitchen you have. You’re going to need specific details about structure, what works, and what doesn’t before you start thinking about changes. Having a solid idea of what you’re working with to start will help your project go smoothly.
This is the time to take a good look at your kitchen to see what works well for you, and what needs to go.
- Do you like the arrangement and current placement of appliances?
- Do you wish your dishwasher was closer to your sink?
- Is the placement of the pantry convenient, and do you have enough counter space?
- Are your cabinets too high?
- Do you wish you had a better system for organizing dishes?
- Do you find yourself wishing you had an island or a breakfast bar or more storage space?
Decide on Materials
Once you figure out some details about the layout of your kitchen remodel, it’s time to start looking at materials. For this, you’ll want to consider what sort of atmosphere you want to create in your kitchen and your house overall. You should make sure the materials you pick will flow well with the rest of your home.
First, take a look at cabinets and floors and decide whether you want to use wood or a different material. Stone can make for beautiful, polished kitchen surfaces, whereas wood will create a warmer, more elegant feel. You need to decide whether you want your kitchen to feel light and airy or sophisticated with darker colors.
After you’ve decided on the cabinet and floor materials, it’s time to take a look at countertops. Of course, you’ll want to make sure these coordinate with the materials you picked out already. But you should also take practicality into account here. For instance, if you cook with vinegar a lot, a marble countertop may not be your best choice.
Plan for Enough Counter Space
One of the biggest questions in kitchen remodeling is how much counter space you want/need. This will depend in large part on your cooking habits – how often you like to cook, and for how many people. In general, if you have space, it’s better to err on the side of more counter space than you need.
If you cook every night for a family of four or more, you probably want to arrange for a lot of extra counter space. You should work with a contractor to determine how much counter space is enough, and you want to have enough to prep meals for everyone. However, if your family is smaller, or you eat out most nights, sacrificing some counter space for more storage may be a good idea.
The other factor you’ll want to take into account when deciding on counter space is how many appliances you have. If you have a stand mixer, a toaster oven, a coffee pot, a countertop microwave, or other appliances, you’ll want enough counter space to store them all.
You should also make sure your cabinets are high enough to accommodate all your appliances.
These are all things that your Expert Kitchen Designer can help you with!
Decide on Lighting
Lighting can make or break a kitchen, and it’s one of the most important things to consider when you’re planning a kitchen remodel.
No one wants to feel like they’re cooking in a cave, and a properly lighted kitchen can be a joy to use. You’re going to want to focus on high-traffic areas when deciding where to put your lights.
If you know you like to chop vegetables and prepare meat on the counter to the left of the stove, you should have some extra lighting there. Putting some spotlights over your stove can be helpful for keeping an eye on dishes while they cook. You may also want to consider putting some lighting under your cabinets to add some visual and functional lighting to your kitchen.
Take some time to think about what style of lighting you want as well.
If you’re going for the light and airy look, pendant lights can be a beautiful choice. But if you’re planning to have dark cabinets and floors, recessed lighting can provide good light sources without detracting attention from the other kitchen fixtures.
Plan Storage Space
After counter space, the next biggest real estate accommodation should be for storage space. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to cram dishes or groceries into overcrowded cabinets or drawers.
What kind of storage space you want, as with most things during a kitchen remodel, will depend on how you plan to use your kitchen.
If you’re a shorter person, you may prefer to forgo upper cabinets in lieu of a pantry. Or depending on what set of dishes and utensils you have, you may prefer to have more drawers than cabinets. When you’re thinking about how you currently use your kitchen, take some time to consider what storage options will work best for you.
This is one of the stages of a kitchen renovation where having a Professional Kitchen Designer will be crucial. They can help you decide on the right combination of cabinets, drawers, and pantry space for your kitchen needs. There are also some very creative storage options for kitchens these days that they can help you incorporate.
Ventilation is an important and often-overlooked part of any kitchen renovation. Depending on how your kitchen is structured, you may need to plan for a vent hood. But even if you don’t have a full vent hood, you do need some sort of ventilation in place in the kitchen.
If your stove is against a wall in your kitchen, you'll need to plan to have a vent hood installed. Your options for vent hood designs are almost endless, from minimalistic, sleek models to more dramatic copper and wood versions. You’re limited only by your design needs and your budget.
In some circumstances, you may have a stove/oven in an island. In this situation, you'll still need put in a vent hood, but you’ll need to get a different model than the standard ones that install against a wall. This isn't a big deal, but it may require modifying your ventilation system a little more than usual.
Group Functions Together - The Kitchen Work Triangle
When you’re planning your new kitchen layout, you want to make your kitchen as easy to use as possible.
You won’t enjoy cooking if you have to hike halfway across your house every time you want to put a dish in the sink. The key is to group different functions together so all your tasks are in one place.
It’s a good idea to put your stove and oven near each other if they aren’t part of the same unit. If your stove is on an island and your oven is on the wall, try to place them across from each other. Likewise, it’s a good idea to put your dishwasher near your sink and the place where you store your dishes.
Compact kitchen layouts offer a good way to keep everything within reach. You can create layouts that offer plenty of space and still keep things near at hand. Your Expert Kitchen Designer will be able to help you lay out plans that will make the best use of your space.
Consider a Side Sink
Everyone knows the main sink is a crucial part of a kitchen, and this is a detail you’ll need to figure out during your remodel. But it may be a good idea to also have a side sink in your new kitchen. If you have a tendency to procrastinate on doing dishes or if you want to have a wet bar or a coffee bar, a side sink can be a lifesaver.
Sometimes, dishes just pile up, and when you’re in the middle of getting dinner on the table, the last thing you want is to have to do a load of dishes just to get a glass of water. If you put in a side sink with a small basin and a tap, you can grab water out of that when the sink is full. Talk to your designer about the options, but you may be able to get away with running a cold water line over to that smaller sink.
Choose Your Dishwasher
As anyone who loves to cook knows, having a good dishwasher is as important as having a good stove or oven. You want a machine that’s powerful enough to get your dishes clean without you having to scrub everything first. And some of the newer dishwashers have some very cool features.
Of course, the first question with dishwashers is going to be your budget. You can spend almost as much as you want on a dishwasher, depending on what features you want for your model.
Decide on what you’re willing to spend and the features that you consider absolutely necessary ahead of time to make the decision easier when it comes time to choose.
Smart devices are the name of the game in terms of appliance replacement, and dishwashers are no exception. New smart dishwashers can tell you how much water you’re using, reduce water wasting, and help you save on your water & electricity bills. For those looking for an eco-friendly option, these dishwashers can be a great addition to a renovation.
Add Some Height
If you’re short or have tall upper cabinets, having some extra height around can be handy. But if you don't have a tall spouse, you may not always want to have to drag the step stool out of the closet every time you need some flour off the top shelf.
Luckily, kitchen layouts these days have all sorts of clever options for helping you reach the things you need to.
Some of the cabinet manufacturers are now beginning to introduce hidden storage and accessibility options into their cabinets. Talk to your designer about how to incorporate step stool options into your kitchen and pantry.
Go for Timeless
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when redesigning a kitchen is to follow the current trends just because it's a "hot new fad". It may be tempting to paint your new cabinets the color that’s all the rage this year. But just a couple years down the line, you may look back on that decision with regret.
Instead, pick styles that will stay around for a while. There’s nothing wrong with following new design innovations, but in general, it’s better to stay away from bold trends when it comes to kitchen remodels. Wild colors and strange architecture can also make it harder to sell your house down the road.
Stick to neutral colors and classic materials when you’re planning your new kitchen. You can use unusual materials like concrete and resin, but make sure they’re done in sophisticated, timeless styles.
This is another area where help from an expert kitchen designer can make a huge difference, and save you from buyer's remorse a few years later.
Get Kitchen Planning Ideas
Remodeling a kitchen can be a wonderful thing. It’s exciting to have a new space to cook in, and creating something to fit your family’s needs is wonderful. Be careful in considering the details, and you’ll wind up with a kitchen you love to be in.
If you need kitchen planning ideas, check out the rest of our site at Harrisburg Kitchen and Bath. We have ideas and portfolios that will help you remodel kitchens, bathrooms, and more. Check out our kitchen remodel ideas today.